Oralism And Oralism

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Suppression of Development, Diversity and Independence in
Education and Socialization of the Deaf

"We [have] had enough of hearing teachers trying to make us hearing people. [...] We have a language - American Sign Language - but they refuse to recognize it." (Ubelacker, 1988, para. 16)
 The use of Oralism in educational, medical and societal settings is culturally and socially suppressive for the Deaf community. Oralism rejects any form of sign language, and imposes the hearing world’s ideals on the Deaf. The medical world has a strong desire to find ways to fix Deafness, or at force Deaf people to integrate into the hearing world. When educators and parents of Deaf children look to medical professionals for help and guidance, often they
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8). This form of communication discourages sign language and hand gestures. Prior to Oralism, in the late nineteenth century, Deaf institutions used sign language as the main form of communication, and, on average, academic achievements were high in these schools (Carver, 1988, para. 3). Things changed in he 1870s when Alexander Graham Bell entered the scene. Bell believed sign language had a negative effect on society, as it encouraged Deaf people to form small, inclusive communities. By the early 1900s, Bell banned all forms of sign language in schools, arguing that “educators and society generally should do their best to ignore deafness” (Baynton & Ayim, 1997, para. 15). Oralism thrived until the 1960s when linguists officially recognized ASL as a “full-fledged language” (“Deafness as Culture,” 1993, para. 16). However, Oralism is still a major concern for Deaf people in North America, as many medical and educational professionals continue to encourage Oralism as the best form of communication (Ubelacker, 1988, para.

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